Perspective Taking in the Case of a Polarizing Issue: Field Study of a Socially Controversial Issue

By Ivars Austers and Girts Dimdins.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 30, 2015 $US5.00

The aim of the study was to examine the cognitive mechanisms behind perspective taking by measuring the response times of respondents when answering questions from their own perspective and from various imagined perspectives of groups and individuals. The participants were 65 journalists from leading Latvian newspapers, representing two sides in a controversy about Latvian educational reform in 2004. The participants evaluated various aspects of the reform from 6 different perspectives (their own, in-group prototype and exemplar, out-group prototype and exemplar, and a neutral third-party perspective). The longest response times were for the judgments made from one’s own perspective, indicating more cognitive effort, while judgments from all the other perspectives were more stereotype-based, resulting in substantially shorter response times.

Keywords: Perspective Taking, Polarizing Issue, Decision Time, Journalists

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.41-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 30, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 419.143KB)).

Dr. Ivars Austers

Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia

Dr. Girts Dimdins

Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia